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AZ attorney general declares southern border crisis ‘invasion’ under US Constitution

Migrants in Matamoros, Mexico. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
February 08, 2022

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced on Monday that his office issued a legal opinion declaring the illegal immigration crisis on the US-Mexico border qualifies as an “invasion” under the U.S. Constitution, which he says gives his state “the power to defend itself.”

Brnovich wrote in his opinion that the “violence and lawlessness at the border caused by transnational cartels and gangs satisfies the definition of an ‘invasion.’”

“An actual invasion permits the State to engage in defensive actions within its own territory at or near its border,” the opinion stated.

Brnovich said in a press release on the opinion that his decision “comes as the United States faces the worst border crisis in more than two decades. Acting as if they are above the law, Mexican and Central American cartels are engaging in brazen attacks on Arizona, trafficking in drugs, weapons, and human beings.”

He highlighted how cartels are pouring deadly drugs into the United States, including fentanyl and heroin. In December 2021 alone, law enforcement agencies seized 1.7 million fentanyl pills totaling $9 million.

“Deaths from drug overdoses are dramatically escalating, and most of that increase is driven by fentanyl and other opioids,” Brnovich wrote. “For adults between 18 and 45, fentanyl overdose is the leading cause of death, killing more adults in this age group than car crashes, gun violence, or COVID-19.”

Brnovich also noted that human trafficking is a “lucrative market,” bringing in over $14 million each day for cartels and gangs in 2021.

“Annually, the cartels and gangs get billions of dollars a year from human smuggling. So it’s no wonder that criminal organizations would be willing to engage in violent cross-border attacks to protect their profits,” the summary stated.

The violence at the border is also unprecedented, Brnovich asserted.

“The cartels’ smuggling of humans and drugs is bringing more violence to the border crossing into the United States. Unauthorized individuals have engaged in a number of violent attacks in Cochise County, which shares an 83-mile border with Mexico. Individuals believed to be cartel drug smugglers are regularly caught on camera crossing the border, dressed in camouflage and carrying weapons to protect their drug loads,” he wrote. “Border area ranchers have experienced this violence firsthand, including one who was killed the day after he reported a drug load to authorities.”

The attorney general also argued that President Joe Biden’s administration has failed to secure the border and “protect Arizona from invasion,” calling Biden’s inaction “dangerous and unprecedented.”

“Thankfully, the Founders foresaw that States might need to protect themselves from invasion and made clear in the Constitution that States retain the sovereign power to defend themselves within their own territory,” Brnovich wrote.